Three gold medals on day one of the European Track Championships have confirmed that Great Britain are returning to form in the first continental test of the season.
After dominating qualification, both men's and women's Team Pursuit lineups and the women's Team Sprint pairing went on to secure gold medals, equalling on day one of the 2011 Championships the gold medal count of the entire 2010 competition.
If twelve months previous marked the start of the Road To 2012, then Apeldoorn represented a first journey with designate drivers - World Champions Dani King and Laura Trott reunited with Jo Rowsell; Jess Varnish and Victoria Pendleton with more than glimmers of form and the men's Team Pursuiters displaying strength in depth.
Each win was composed and clinical, but crucially displayed passion and moments of leadership - especially from the younger riders who could be riding at a home Olympics in under ten months.
Great Britain have taken control in the opening session of the European Track Championships, qualifying fastest in both men's and women's Team Pursuits and the women's Team Sprint. But the clean sheet was marked by a surprising exit in the qualification for the men's Team Sprint.
Sir Chris Hoy's last outing at the European Championships resulted in a first round exit from the Individual Sprint and the 2011 edition started no different; a slipped wheel at the start for Jason Kenny resulting in fifith for the trio completed by Matt Crampton.
There was no such drama in the women's Team Sprint, where Victoria Pendleton was led by Jess Varnish to record a 33.559, good enough to qualify first for the final and a chance to better their silver medal performance of last year.
|Audio - Victoria Pendleton after securing gold with Jess Varnish in the women's team sprint.|
Dani King and Laura Trott returned to Apeldoorn for the first time since winning the World Championships seven months previous, resplendent in rainbow stripes, and took the fastest qualification time alongside Jo Rowsell.
|Audio – Dani King reflects on team pursuit success in the European Championships.|
Rowsell - who was first reserve earlier this year - forced her way back into the team and helped the young lineup to a 3.22.414; a comfortable four seconds ahead of final opponents Germany.
The men's squad of Geraint Thomas, Steven Burke, Ed Clancy and Andy Tennant was equally convincing; 4.01.306 taking them to the final round and a shot at the European title.
|Audio - Andy Tennant and Steven Burke speak after the men's team pursuit team won gold.|
Result - Complete Results
Women’s Team Pursuit - Final
1. Great Britain 3:22:318
2. Germany 3:29:596
Women’s Team Pursuit - Bronze Medal
3. Belarus 3:26:864
4. Ukraine DNF
Women’s Team Pursuit - Qualification
1. Great Britain 3:22:414
Men’s Team Pursuit - Final
1. Great Britain 4:00:008
2. Denmark 4:06:787
Men’s Team Pursuit - Bronze Medal
3. Russia 4:04:508
4. Spain 4:10:153
Men’s Team Pursuit - Qualification
1. Great Britain 4:01:306
Women’s Team Sprint - Final
1. Great Britain 33.276
2. Ukraine 33.786
Women’s Team Sprint - Bronze Medal
3. Germany 33.678
4. Russia 33.820
Women’s Team Sprint - Qualification
1. Great Britain 33.559
Men’s Team Sprint - Final
1. Germany 44.022
2. France 44.415
Men’s Team Sprint - Bronze Medal
3. Poland 44.809
4. Netherlands 44.900
Women’s Points Race (25km)
1. E. Romanyuta RUS
2. K. Pawlowska POL
3. J. Machakova CZE
9. Dani King GBR